If planned successfully, your conference should attract a group of like-minded people and offer a unique experience that they can’t get anywhere else. Whether it’s a professional or academic conference geared toward associations or nonprofits, people are ultimately registering to network and learn from others like them.
Conferences are also becoming very popular to host, so it might take more than just a simple announcement to garner enough registrants. With ongoing technological innovations and modern event planning tools automating a good amount of manual tasks, it can be tricky to determine the best way to attract attendees.
A good school of thought is to always consider what your attendees want. According to Fonteva, your event management software can offer a wide variety of tools to empower your guests and give them more flexibility to optimize their own experience.
If you don’t know where to start, there’s no need to stress! In this guide, you’ll learn about the many ways you can go the extra mile, enhance your conference, and attract more attendees:
Learn the best ways to elevate your conference and ensure that your attendees have the best experience possible. Ready to clear up what your event guests want? Let’s get started!
1. Host a dedicated conference website.
Conference planning should start months before the actual event date. Once you have a good sense of the venue, vendors, speakers, and sessions, it’s time to announce it! To get the word out, you should develop an event marketing strategy.
A great way to kickstart event registration is to announce your conference online. While you’re likely already distributing an email newsletter and posting about it on your organization’s main
website, an effective way to make your conference more accessible and attention-grabbing is to create a dedicated website for it.
Many organizations will build a micro-site to promote their event and serve as a hub for all relevant details. This is an individual webpage that is associated with the main site but can function as its own entity. A page that is dedicated specifically for the event is beneficial since potential attendees are likely searching online to learn more.
On your dedicated conference event page, you can:
- Host all necessary details and event information.
- Accept registrations and sell tickets.
- Track leads and gain better insights into how people find your event.
- Sell merchandise on an eStore. For example, you can sell t-shirts as a fundraiser.
Make it easy for your guests to learn about your event and register. Additionally, guests can easily share the link with others and help spread the word! Read on to learn what to do once you get people on the website.
2. Offer flexible registration options.
Even after you make your conference website aesthetically pleasing and easy to navigate, “shopping cart abandonment” can happen for many reasons. You don’t want your online registration process to ultimately turn attendees away. Luckily, there are a couple of steps you can take to prevent this from happening.
Take a look at your event management tools and consider how your online registration can be more efficient and better meet prospective attendees’ needs. For starters, it’s important that your registration form is branded and customized to your specific conference.
Many software solutions provide form templates to help event planners improve their registration process. While this is helpful, you should also ensure that you can tailor the questions. This means eliminating questions that aren’t applicable, making certain fields optional, and providing all necessary event forms and waivers.
In addition, it’s critical to empower prospective attendees to choose how they want to register for and experience your conference. Flexible registration options will boost the chances of registration completion. Here’s what you can offer:
- Varying packages and registration levels. Give guests the option to upgrade or downgrade their registration level. This means VIP status!
- Group registration. If you’re a manager and in charge of registering your entire department, don’t stress. With group registration options, one person can register multiple people without entering the same attendee data and payment information multiple times.
- Exclusive deals. Give special registrants, like individuals who recently made a large donation or are active supporters of your organization, deals like a discount or early-bird registration!
- Member perks. If your organization is a member-based association, offer member-exclusive perks. Whether it’s discounts or incentives, this is a great way to keep members engaged. Learn
more about this topic.
- Event series and multi-session selector. Ensure that your management tool can handle all types of registration, including a series of events where attendees register for them all at once. On the other side of the spectrum, you can allow users to pick and choose their desired sessions in a multi-session event.
The more flexible your registration is, the more members you will resonate with. Take a look at your event registration tool and consider all of the ways you can leverage it to make your registrants’ lives easier.
3. Boost convenience with a mobile conference app.
A great way to attract more guests to your conference and keep them engaged on-site is to offer a mobile event app. With 96% of Americans owning a mobile device, incorporating a mobile app into your event can create a more connected and convenient experience.
Creating a mobile conference app doesn’t mean you need to contact a professional coder and start from scratch. According to this Pathable article, there is an abundance of event app providers that can help you create one for your conference.
However, depending on your event management tool, you might be able to provide a mobile event app within your existing solution. With a capable mobile event app, your conference guests can:
- Access all event details. It’s likely that your conference has a wide range of speakers, vendors, and activities. From the convenience of their mobile phones, let guests view important information like a timeline or the conference’s schedule.
- Contribute to a community forum. A mobile event app is a great place to host some sort of online forum or discussion board. Conference attendees can engage with each other and interact online.
- Receive urgent announcements. When you plan a conference, you can’t always predict speaker cancellations or other last-minute changes. Through the mobile event app, you can easily notify attendees of any updates.
- Contact customer service. Your attendees might have questions or need to talk to a staff member. Empower them to contact customer service through the mobile app so they can easily receive assistance whenever and wherever.
- Give feedback. As soon as your conference comes to an end, send out a survey through your mobile conference app. This is a great way to gain constructive event feedback while it’s still fresh in their minds.
A mobile event app not only creates a direct connection with your attendees but also provides them with intuitive tools to better navigate your conference. An optimized attendee experience is the best way to increase registration.
4. Provide a conference schedule builder.
Conferences are packed with various learning experiences that aim to bring like-minded people together, so you’ve likely worked hard inviting relevant speakers and coordinating valuable activities and sessions.
For instance, if you planned an educational conference, all of your guests are likely academic professionals and work in some type of educational institution. With your event management tool, you can easily book speakers who are widely known in the academic world and provide multiple sessions hosted by education leaders.
To further attract attendees and make the conference experience as enjoyable as possible, let guests build their own conference schedule out of the variety of activities and sessions you’re hosting. This gives your guests ownership and control of their personal conference experience, ensuring that they’re able to enjoy the event.
Let conference attendees edit their schedules and access them from the mobile event app. This way, they won’t miss out on an activity and can check up on it whenever they need to. If there are multiple sessions that a guest wants to attend at once, it can be beneficial to do some on-site recording and allow attendees to view it after the conference is over!
As you begin to think about your next conference, make sure you’re especially considerate about your attendees’ specific needs. Put in the effort to empower your guests and provide them with the tools they need to enjoy your conference the way they want. Good luck!